I want to ask you a personal question and it’s nothing to do with your sex life. or how much you earn. I want to ask you something even more personal than that.
Have you told yourself that you’re not good enough today? Have you told yourself that you’re a failure? Have you decided not to do something because you’re scared?
If you have you’re not alone. I did it as well.
I thought about turning down a job because I was worried I wasn’t good enough to do it. This was after they’d offered me the job.
Even after an editor has not only said ‘yes’ to publishing my book but offered me contracts for two more, I have a crippling fear that I am not good enough to be an author. I constantly question the things that I write, whether the ideas are unique enough, whether anyone will want to read my book, whether I’m going to be able to cope when I get a horrible 1-star review.
My understanding through talking to others is that this lack of confidence is not uncommon in women, particularly for sensitive, creative types like writers. I see brilliant women cut themselves down, belittle their talents and generally talk to themselves the way that no one should ever talk to another human being, let alone themselves. Why?
Unfortunately I don’t have an answer for why this happens. All I can do is share how I’ve managed to get the confidence to continue writing, submitting, going for promotions at work and generally doing other stuff that scares the sh*t out of me.
This is an actual photo from my wedding – my sister (who hates public speaking) gave an impromptu speech about our wonderful friendship and I grabbed her hand because I knew she was probably terrified. I’m so glad the photographer was there to capture this moment, the photo was completely unplanned.
Want to know my secret? I’ve learned to ask for support.
I have people in my life who are supportive, who don’t think my dreams are crazy and who are willing not only to help, but are also happy to put up with me when I have a meltdown about the impossibility of it all. They’re a shoulder to cry on, they give me a kick up the butt when I need it (I can thank my husband for this one), they tell me the truth about my work, they clap their hands when I achieve and sometimes they just leave me the heck alone (also, a big thanks to my husband for this one.)
But I have had to ask for this support. This has not been easy, I dislike asking for things because I question whether or not I deserve what I’m asking for.
One thing I’ve realised is that people are almost always willing to help if you reach out. Sometimes we have to remember that we can be our harshest critics, and that others are a lot kinder to us than we are to ourselves.
I guess what I’m trying to say (in my usual rambling fashion) is that you’re not alone. You can ask for help, you do deserve support and success, and most importantly yes, you are good enough.
Don’t hesitate to ask a question of another writer over Twitter or Facebook or email, don’t think that you’re too early (or too late) in your journey to join a writer’s group/attend a conference/submit your work. Don’t let your fear stop you from working towards your dream. You can do it.
On that note, here are a few people I would like to thank:
My husband – for everything from doing the dishes, to putting up with my cranky editing-cave BS, to letting me ugly cry when I need it.
My family – my little sister for being a shining beam of positive throughout my entire life, to Mum for reading my very first manuscript and telling me it was wonderful, for Dad for being so proud and showing me that real men have emotions.
Nan and Nonno – although you’re no longer here I feel your influence like a comforting blanket. Thank you for teaching me so much in the time I had with you both. It could never have been enough time.
The ladies at MRWG – you guys rock! I am so eternally grateful for the support, encouragement and belief you have given me…and also for all the chocolate rewards.
Violet – my friend, beta-reader, BS detector and eradicator of single tears and chin tilts. Thank you for your unwavering honesty and enthusiasm.
Lauren and Kari – two gorgeous ladies who’ve critiqued my work with gentleness, care and enthusiasm. I’m hanging out to watch you both get published.
These wonderful Australian romance writers whose work and attitude has inspired me to no end – Anna Campbell, Annie West, Anne Gracie, Louise Reynolds, Rachel Bailey, Eden Summers, Madeline Ash, Rachel Johns, Amy Andrews, Nicola Marsh and many, many others.
I know it’s hard to put yourself out there, it’s hard to believe you’ll get to where you want to be. But you can, and there are always people to help you no matter how alone you feel.